Special Friday afternoon seminar for California Library Association attendees
How California Librarians Transformed Library Services in Japan
Japanese librarianship was transformed during the allied occupation after the Second World War and California librarians had a strong influence. Robert Gitler, ’31, founded the first college-level library education program in Japan in 1951. Another alumnus, Philip Keeney, '27, got fired for fighting censorship in Montana then ruined by being denounced as a Soviet spy during the Red Scare. But in between he was "Library Officer" on the allied occupation staff and deserves recognition he has never received. He channeled the California County Library system developed by California State Librarian James Gillis, his charismatic county library organizer, Harriet Eddy, and others, into a unified plan for library services in Japan. It is a complex tale involving the School's founding director, Sydney Mitchell, Berkeley city librarian Carleton Joeckel, and more.
Local Ground: Empowering Teenage Engagement in Community Issues
Avaaj Otalo, a phone-based voice message board allows small farmers in rural India to ask, answer and browse agricultural questions and answers. It receives hundreds of calls every week and impacts farmers’ decisions and has reduced use of less effective and potentially harmful pesticides. While Avaaj Otalo illustrates the importance of designing appropriate user interfaces for representing knowledge from underrepresented groups, knowledge must still be translated to structured, quantitative forms for aggregation and policy decision-making. Local Ground is a data collection, mapping and information visualization tool that helps youth develop data skills by making connections between different representations of empirical phenomena. Students collect open-ended qualitative data, in the form of free-hand drawings, pictures and audio interviews, then design structured data collection instruments for more systematic inquiry and analysis. These various forms of data are combined into narratives that can articulate youth perspectives to a variety of stakeholders. Local Ground has been used to involve youth the planning of a public park, ground-truth civic data about food access, and document air quality issues across the BART transportation system.
Tapan Parikh, assistant professor in the School of Information, explores several themes in his work, including the design of more accessible interaction techniques allowing new populations to author content, the importance of bottom-up data for planning and evaluating development projects, and how we can employ participatory computing technologies to improve learning and human agency.